News Section: Schools and Education
Falling SAT Scores Puts Spotlight on Standardized Testing
BRADENTON – A report this week by the College Board on declining SAT results and college readiness, has some education reformers arguing that the results demonstrate that No Child Left Behind and high-stakes standardized testing at the state level have dramatically undercut college readiness. SAT average scores have declined by 20 points since 2006, when the test was revised to include a writing section.
“According to the College Board’s exam, many students are even less ready for college than they were six years ago,” said Bob Schaeffer, Public Education Director of FairTest. “If you believe the College Board’s claim that the SAT accurately assesses readiness for higher education, the logical conclusion is that test-driven K-12 school policies have been a colossal failure.”
The class of 2012 scored the lowest average SAT reading score since 1972. The only good news was that math scores were up. Writing is down nine points since the SAT introduced the writing section in 2006. The average score in math was 514 out of 800, five points higher than it was 40 years ago. Only 43 Percent of 2012 college-bound seniors are college ready, according to the data.
“Proponents of NCLB and similar state-level testing programs promised that overall achievement would improve while score gaps between racial groups would narrow,” Schaeffer continued. “Precisely the opposite has taken place. Policymakers need to embrace very different policies to reverse this trend. Yet, so-called ‘reforms’ such as Race to the Top and NCLB waivers will actually increase the focus on test-scores in the nation’s public schools. The likely result is more damage to school quality and educational equity.”
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